Jobs, the founder of Apple, was a college drop out, who got fired from the company which he founded and abandoned his first child for several years. He eventually “grew up”, got married, took responsibility for his first child as well as his other three. He also became the chief executive officer of Apple after his comeback.
Jobs refers to life and its various different events as “connecting dots”, each one of them dependent on the previous ones. No matter what you face in life “you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future”. And they always do, no matter what hardships you face, or have faced. Every so often I have moments (which can last for up to several days) where I look back at my life, feeling as if “it all begins to make sense”.
This week has been one of those moments.
A few days ago I received the news that I am going to Hawaii for an exchange semester from August to December this year (2015). Usually, when something big like this happens, I look back on the last few years of my life, as to “summarize” the dots, to see how they connect and form a chain.
I like to think that this part of my story began in San Diego 2010. Let’s say I ended up there “by chance”, due to the circumstances life had thrown at me. At that point in my life, I had a plan, a life plan expanding over several years. By the age I am at now, I was planning on having had travelled the world, have my degree, my driver’s licence and a partner – to sum it up. However, little did I know at that point that sometimes life just happens and it simply cannot follow a plan.
Life happens and sometimes your entire personal universe is turned upside down as a result of it.
When I returned to my home town, Stockholm, in June 2010, I was no longer the same person. I could no longer settle in Stockholm, or Sweden at all. I had to head out and face the world – as soon as I had completed what I had to in Stockholm. In February 2011 I reached the point where I felt like I was ready for take off and even though I was studying the course (Psychology 1) I had wanted to study for years, I had to follow another calling.
Within a few weeks I quit university, I packed up all my stuff, got rid of most of my furniture and things, hugged my friends goodbye and said See you in ten years. I said those words jokingly, but it would take me three and a half years before I returned to Sweden for more than a two weeks long visit. Last summer (the summer of 2014), I went back to Stockholm to work for four months. By that time I had forgotten how to speak Swedish properly and many people I came in contact with asked me if I am from an English speaking country. My four years abroad had altered my accent of my native language.Cool, eh? Yes, indeed, but also slightly scary, as it reflects how much my years abroad have altered my identity.
I am no longer ‘Swedish’. Truth be told, I am not entirely sure what I am, which, indeed sometimes is a bit frightening. But as I look back at my life and see how the dots connect, I know that there is no other way I could have or should have lived this story.
Jobs also emphasized how important it is to listen to our gut feeling and to our heart, as they always know what we are meant to do, even when we cannot acknowledge it consciously.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living
someone else’s life
“And most important, have the courage to follow
your heart and intuition.
“They somehow already know what you truly want to become”
Jobs said at a commencement speech at Stanford in June 2005.
Watch the full 15 minutes long speech here